Category Archives: Investment in Self

Make this Summer a ‘Summer to Remember!’ by Lory Fabian

A lot of us plan our daily lives and work lives, but have you ever thought about mapping out your entire summer?  The true organizers in our life already know the importance of planning ahead. But the majority of us tend to take our summer days and weeks as they come. We insert a vacation or two and our summer is over before we are ready for it to be over. There are far too many places that we miss out on seeing or didn’t get to enjoy, strictly due to the lack of planning.

This year think about choosing a Family Summer theme. Be creative and come up with activities that include what each spouse and family member wants to do. Include activities together and separately with friends.  Be sure that every family member’s activity is included in the mix.  If money is an issue, negotiate a compromise. It’s important that everyone in the family feels that their voice matters; that each one gets to chose some of their favorite activities to do over the summer.  It goes without saying that family chores come first before fun!

Below are some idea and links to help you start planning:

Google Strawberry Festivals and find one in your area.  Indulge!

Sit on the porch and enjoy an old-fashion ice cold glass of lemonade. {Google for homemade recipes} Enjoy conversations with friends, family & neighbors. Homemade cookies or cake will turn your porch into a gathering place.  Make it a weekly event.

Did you know that Ice Cream is good for the soul?  Whether you make your own or buy your favorite brand custard, enjoy sharing your day’s events and eating ice cream with your family.

Buy a whole watermelon and keep it refrigerated for a day or two so that it gets ice-cold.  Cut watermelon into large pieces and sit on your porch or back yard and have a contest to see who can shoot the seeds the farthest.

Lie in your hammock late at night and try to name the different constellations.

Go to the airport and watch families greeting each other who have been away.  It makes you appreciate your family more. Watching our military veterans come home is my favorite feel good moments at the airport.

Do the obvious: visit the Zoo, the Botanical Gardens and visit local parks.

Plant a garden.  Not enough room?  Try using window boxes, barrels, tubs and baskets.  Google, Google, & Google for great ideas from other gardeners.

Celebrate Summer Solstice on June 21 by camping out in your own back yard or one of the many parks in your area.  Pitch a tent, bring out sleeping bags, and build a campfire in the grill. Tell ghost stories and then sleep in the moonlight.  Don’t forget to bring the S’mores for desert. (http://listofusnationalparks.com) (americanhiking.org) (http://discovertheforest.org)

Book at weekend at Pheasant Valley Farms (http://www.pheasantvalleyfarms.com/ and take a trip down memory lane by catching bugs or fire flies on the lawn at twilight. Prepare a safe jar that includes a lid with holes and grass.   Make sure to let them fly away home after their brief visit.  Enjoy hunting, hiking, and fishing. Build a bonfire and enjoy PVF’s old fashion front porch.

Host a Garden Hat party!  Ask your guests to bring their favorite bottle of wine.  Enjoy the sights and scents of the garden and conversations while sipping on a new wine or cold beverage.

Shared moments bring us health and warmth and comfort.

Wishing you all a fabulous summer! Remember to rest, plan events and be grateful for what you have!

Feel free to share your favorite summer memories in the comment box.

 

Ten Resolutions The Most Successful People Make And Then Keep By Mike Maddock

MOST OF US KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO READ, LISTEN AND ASSOCIATE. AFTER READING MIKE MADDOCK’S ARTICLE ON FORBES.COM EARLIER THIS WEEK, I RESOLVE TO FOLLOW MIKE’S SUGGESTIONS IN 2014.  IT MAKES MORE SENSE TO FOCUS ON MIKE’S TOP FAVORITE RESOLUTIONS THAN TAKING TIME TO CREATE MY OWN LIST. AGREE?

HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS.   YOU CAN BE THE JUDGE on HOW EFFECTIVE THEY ARE.

LORY

Ten Resolutions The Most Successful People Make And Then Keep

Well, it’s that time again—time to start rolling out the New Year’s resolutions. Some of us will vow to eat less, exercise more, live in the moment, be more grateful. You may even decide to bury the hatchet with the family member who makes you so crazy.

But what about your New Year’s business resolutions?

This time of year is a great time to start making—and keeping—business resolutions, too. But sadly, like our personal goals, we often make them (year after year) with sincere intent only to see them quickly fall by the wayside, as we revert to (bad) habits that we have vowed to break.

But what about the most successful people and their resolutions?

Have you noticed how the most accomplished people just seem to identify important things and consistently get them done? Study successful people long enough and you start to pick up on the resolutions they seem to consistently make.

Here are Mike’s top favorites:

#1 – Spend more time on the not-to-do list.

Strategy is the art of sacrifice. That’s why you may consider creating a larger clearing for what really matters by first identifying, and then avoiding, what matters the least. Your time is a treasure to be invested. Creating a list of things that you are not going to do, allows you to invest more of your treasured time on the few things that matter the most.

#2 – Essential first, email second.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? For many of us, it is looking at email. We wake up with a renewed mind and spirit, ready to take on the world, and then we immediately allow ourselves to be distracted by an insignificant email. Instead, wake up, take on the most important task of the day, and then (and only then) hit the email.

#3-  Resolve to think about “Who” instead of “What.”

Do you work for a “What” business or for a “Who” business? Successful companies run the risk of focusing too much on their current products and distributors thus—the “What”—losing sight of the constant and dramatically changing needs of their customer base.

(The “Who.”) Insurance, pharmacy, health care, higher education often listen too much to their agents, doctors and professors. The real innovation starts with the end consumer.

#4 Resolve to find your purpose.

As my friend Simon Sinek will tell you: People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Starting a career, a company or any kind of journey that is based firmly on your purpose is foundational to success and happiness. If you don’t know your company’s purpose or even your own, finding one is the worthiest of resolutions.

#5 – Resolve to support a cause.

If you’re reading this, chances are you are one of the rare people who know how to start things. Fortunately, there are people like you who have already started causes that make the world better—they feed the hungry; they save the rain forest; they fight cancer; they do good things. There is virtually a cause for everyone, and contributing will make your year happier. Promise.

#6 – Resolve to invent more choices.

Here’s a secret that happy people know that I learned from my friend Dr. Dan Baker: You can’t feel grateful and fearful at the same time. And one certain way to become afraid is to feel trapped by any situation. The remedy is choice. The more choices you feel you have, the less trapped—and happier—you will feel. So this year, resolve to do a bit of brainstorming every time you feel unhappy.

#7 – Resolve to find a Yin for your Yang.

Walt Disney had Roy Disney, Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak and Orville Wright had Wilbur Wright. Wherever there is great innovation, there is a Dreamer and an Operator; an Idea Monkey and a (Ring) leader. First, determine where your passions lie, then go find an equally passionate partner, then go change the world.

#8 – Resolve to get outside your jar.

You can’t read the label when you are sitting inside the jar. The sad irony of being an expert is that it keeps you from seeing possibility. After all, you know what works, what doesn’t, what you can afford, what’s been tried in the past. Instead of relying only on your expertise, learn how to find other experts solving similar challenges to the ones you are facing. Go ask them what you may be missing.

#9 –Resolve to be the creator.

What is the outcome you want? What stands in your way? How do you overcome these obstacles? These three simple questions will keep you from being victimized by any situation. Creators change the world. Victims just bitch about stuff.

#10 – Plan vacations. (now)

You have probably heard the saying, “Life is what happens when you are not paying attention.” Unfortunately for many of us, we let this become true. Do yourself a favor and plan your vacations for the next year today. I promise you that the days around your vacation will fill in nicely. I also promise you that you’ll have something to look forward to and the life that happens during your vacations will be precious.

Hugs and Peace out to  Mike Maddock

Learn more about Mike @ http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemaddock/

SEND MORE not LESS SendOutCards.com Christmas & Holiday letters

While many believe that Christmas cards are becoming a tradition of the past, I say we all need to send more Christmas (holiday) cards.  It’s important that we send cards of Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa) blessings, include family photos, and most of all, send a letter journaling what you and your family (and pets) has been involved in the past 12 months.  People who care about you really want to know and appreciate hearing from you. (especially out of town family)  This is typically the only time of year that it is culturally accepted to send one family letter to hundreds of people. So just do it!

Please, please don’t use the excuse that Christmas letters and stamps cost too much money.  It’s almost always a question of priority.  Ask yourself; what is value of nurturing your relationships versus sacrificing a couple of 6 packs, or a few of those fancy coffee drinks, or not buying that new outfit with shoes that you will only wear once?   Families and friends should always come first!

In this new age of information, too many of us are inundated with digital, quick to the point messages through Instant Chat, Text & Twitter.  It’s easy to see why email is the preferred form of communication in today’s workplace and at home.  However, digital, impersonal, often short, email messages can never bond relationships.

If we really want to stay connected, it’s imperative that we spend more REAL TIME with family & friends throughout the year.  In addition, send a REAL SendOutCard.com/loryfabian       3 panel Christmas letter to your friends and family updating them on your tough times as well as your family’s achievements and happy times over the past year.

Send a warm, humorous, and genuine letter about yourself and your family.  Remember, none of us live edited lives, so never feel like you have to write one. Share the good, the bad & perhaps only a little nugget of the ugly. A lot of times, your letter will prompt others to send a letter back to you.

Another idea for this year; think about writing a letter to Yourself. Send a letter journalizing your celebrations over the past year. Document the tiny changes you made that have made a big difference in your everyday life.  Include a paragraph or two on what you are grateful for over the past year and who you are grateful to have in your life. Choose from pages and pages of beautiful blank cards to write your letter on.

And lastly, write a second letter, dated this time next year, in which you describe how your dreams came true.  In it, outline your ideal life in detail – exactly what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, who’s doing it with you.

Write these two Christmas letters for your eyes only. This is a letter to not only the world, but to the Universe declaring your aspirations in concrete form. It’s the same as writing down your goals. It can be the most powerful of motivational tools because it engages your emotions increasing the pulses of creative energy your subconscious mind needs to transform a reverie into reality perfected. (idea source – Sarah Ban Breathnach)

SendOutCards.com recently sent out their 100,000,000th (100 millionths) card.  There is magic in card sending.  If you want to create your own magic this year, visit my website at:

www.sendoutcards.com/loryfabian

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah & Happy Kwanzaa, To You All!

Why Do Your Potential Customers Say “No”? by Ultimatesparkle

Knowing the 5 buying decisions your customers have to make can help you understand what they are saying “no” to.

When selling your product, it greatly helps to understand the 5 buying decisions that your customers make before they are willing to say “yes” and purchase from you. Unfortunately, a single “no” to any one of these 5 decisions often results in loss of a sale. Therefore, knowing these decisions allows you to be aware of and address them all to help you connect with your customer and earn more “yes” decisions.

Decision #1: Do I like and trust you, the salesperson.

Your prospective customer’s first impression is often not with the product or service you sell, but with you. People judge others on two primary criteria: (1) likability and (2) competence. Each time you meet a prospective customer, they think, “Do I like and trust this person?” They need to feel that you are both a kind and knowledgeable person.

Do you have integrity — are you working for their benefit or only your own?

Are you credible — do you understand your product/service?

How to improve your chance of “yes, I like and trust you”:

  • Build rapport.
    • Be nice.
    • Be polite.
    • Be a good listener.
    • For tips on building rapport, see our blog When Meeting Your Customer for the First Time.
      • Have and project integrity.
        • Always be honest.
        • Make sure you work for their benefit, not just for your own.
  • Be credible.
    • Know your products and services.
    • Understand how your company adds value to customers.

 

Decision #2: Do I like and trust your company.

The prospective customer wants to know that your company is dependable. You are the representation of your company and how they think and feel about you will often be transferred to how they think and feel about your company. When you demonstrate integrity, credibility, likability, and trust, your prospective customer will be much more willing to see your company in the same light.

How to improve your chance of “yes, I like and trust your company”:

  • Only work for a company you personally like and trust.
  • Be familiar with your company.
    • Be able to talk about your company’s history, leaders, culture, and mission.
  • Provide material, if available and relevant.
    • Have a business card and direct them to the website for additional information.
    • Provide marketing material, if available, such as press releases, newspaper articles, customer reviews, etc.

 

Decision #3: Do I like and trust your product or service.

Even when the prospective customer likes and trusts you and your company, their primary concern is whether your product or service really will fulfill their emotional and practical need. The best thing you can do is to let them tell you what their needs are.

How to improve your chance of “yes, I like and trust your product/service”:

  • Understand what their need is.
    • Ask open-ended questions that start with Who, What, Why, When, Where and How.
    • Listen closely to their answers.
    • Confirm understanding.
    • A good way to do this is by repeating back to them what you think you are hearing and asking them if your understanding is correct.
    • A good example is “I am hearing that your need is X…is this correct?”
      • Understand your product’s benefits.
      • Provide the best product match for their need.
        • When they have confirmed that you understand their need, work with them on selecting the product or service you offer that fulfills this need.
        • Always be honest with yourself and with them.
        • Don’t try to sell them something they don’t need or doesn’t help fill their need.

Decision #4: Do I like and trust your price.

Most people don’t truly buy solely on price. They buy because of value.

How to improve your chance of “yes, I will pay that price”:

  • Sell value, not prices.
    • As stated above in Decision #3, show them the benefits of your product and service that fulfill their need.
    • Help them see the value that your product/service provides by saving them money in better quality, higher durability, uniqueness, timesaving, convenience, etc.
    • If one of your benefits is a low price, great! Make sure they are aware of this.

Decision #5: Is it the right time to buy.

No one wants to spend money before it’s necessary and their comfortability with when the right time to buy can vary widely from person to person.

How to improve your chance of “yes, I am ready to buy now”:

  • Identify their objections and concerns, if any.
    • Ask more open-ended questions such as “What additional questions or concerns do you have?”
  • Work with them to provide solutions to their objections
    • Are they still worried about money?
    • Maybe you can help them with flexible payment arrangements or discounts.
      • Are they concerned about making the wrong choice?
      • Let them know about your return policies and satisfaction guarantees.

It is important to not be too aggressive. If they are not ready to buy, don’t pressure them. Remember that the best salespeople spend energy on building customer relationships, not on pushing products and services. See our blog Make The Sale Without Being Pushy.

In summary, knowing and giving attention to the 5 buying decisions that your customers make will help you when selling your product. Whenever you hear “no”, try to understand which of the 5 decisions they are saying “no” to.

If they are saying “no” to you or your company, you need to work on building better relationships and branding yourself and your company.

If they are saying “no” to your product or price, maybe you need to work on better communication of the benefits and value that your offerings bring.

If they are saying “no, now is not the right time for me”, then you can ask them if they would be open to keeping in touch and when a good time would be to follow up with them.

Getting a “yes” from your customer means they are saying “yes” to all 5 decisions. The better prepared you are for addressing each of the 5 decisions, the better chance you have of completing the sale and truly fulfilling your customer’s needs.

Shout out to  ultimatesparkle

The Power of Gratitude in Business by Tricia Molloy

Before I wrote my book in 2006 and starting my Working with Wisdom speaking, training and mentoring business, I was a marketing professional. In fact, my public relations firm, Molloy Communications, turns 25 this year.

Although I don’t do much marketing these days, one service I continue to offer is writing testimonial quotes. Many professionals have found that you can wait a long time for even the most delighted clients to send their testimonial quotes. And, when they do, they are often generic or not focused on your key messages. That’s why I chose to facilitate the process by interviewing my clients’ clients and writing the testimonials for everyone’s approval. I’ve written more than 500 over the years.

The reason I’m so passionate about testimonials goes beyond its power as a third-party endorsement. It’s about the power of gratitude. When I interview my clients’ clients and help them articulate their appreciation, the process produces multiple outcomes. Their client is reminded of the good work that was done on their behalf, which prompts them to do more business and refer others. My client gets to read that what they’ve done really matters and can share that testimonial with the support staff that often doesn’t get any client feedback. Then, these testimonials are featured on my clients’ websites and are also added to their LinkedIn profiles—a much better alternative to the one-click LinkedIn endorsement that lacks any thought or credibility.

Compelling client testimonials are like word-of-mouth advertising on steroids. Whether you’re an attorney, management consultant, marketing professional, speaker or business vendor, you can benefit from client testimonials. If you would like my help, find out more at http://www.testimonialwritingservice.com.

If you’re a good writer and would like to do it yourself, here are some best practices I’ve learned along the way.

1. Before You Begin: To increase the effectiveness of your collection of testimonials as a marketing and sales tool, pinpoint three key messages–such as the high level of client service you provide—and make sure each testimonial touches on at least one of those messages.

2. During the Interview:  Ask open-ended questions, like: “What was your problem and how much was it costing you?” “What results came from my help?” “Is there one instance, as we were working together, that most impressed you?” “How would you describe my personality and working style?” “How do I compare with others in my field?” “What else would you say to someone who was considering my services and/or products?”

3. When Crafting the Quote:  Use action verbs and descriptive, emotional words. Vary short and longer sentences, and limit the quote to no more than five sentences. Maintain the tone of each client so it doesn’t sound the same.

4. Once the Quotes are Approved:  Add the quotes to your website, emails and proposals. Request that your clients post their quote to your LinkedIn profile since you can’t do it for them.  And, of course, thank them for their testimonials!

I hope this helps you harness the power of gratitude in your business. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

A Shout Out, Hugs and Peace to Tricia Molloy, a woman who GETS IT and Is Sharing IT. May her sharing return tenfold.

http://www.triciamolloy.com/2013/02/the-power-of-gratitude-in-business-how-to-write-compelling-client-testimonials-for-your-website-and-linkedin-recommendations/

13 Things to Pack for Every Business Trip by Dr. Ivan Misner

I travel several months a year, speaking to business professionals about networking.  When traveling (especially internationally) I try very hard not to forget important items I need for meetings or speaking to groups of people…but I am only human and – as often as I try to get it perfect – I admit it’s hard to remember everything all the time.

A few months ago, I was invited to speak with a reporter working on an article for an international magazine on this very topic.  The reporter asked me, “What should business people think about taking with them on business trips that they might not normally think about?” As I began forming the list, I found myself adding more and more things that are vital to ensure a successful business trip.

And here are some of the less obvious things you don’t want to forget when heading out of town on business.

No. 1: Plenty of business cards. It is never a good idea to run out of business cards while traveling.  Tuck extras in your suit pockets, wallet/purse, briefcase, luggage, etc.  I put stacks in many places to ensure I always have extra.

No. 2: A name badge.  If you do any networking while traveling on business, have your own professional name badge.  Don’t rely on the hosting organization to do your name badge and do it right.

No 3: Extra pens.  Make sure you have a pen with you while you are doing meetings. I always find that I need to write some reminders down while I’m talking to people. It’s troublesome to track down a pen while you are busy networking.

No 4: The contact information (or business cards) of all your referral partners.  I sometimes find that having that information at my fingertips allows me to give referrals to people while I’m out networking.

No. 5: Hand sanitizer.  I know this may sound a little bit like “Mr. Monk”, the germ-a-phobe title character of a television series.  However, I have found that since I’ve started using hand sanitizer after shaking many, many hands, that I have been getting far less colds than I used to get.  Just be tactful about the way you use it.  Don’t desperately and obviously spray your hands every time you shake someone’s hand!

No 6: Breath mints.  As obvious as it may sound – I can assure you from experience that many people have no idea they need them!

No 7: A memory stick.  Many times I have either needed to get a copy of something or give a copy of a file or presentation to people while out networking.  Having a memory stick handy has been very helpful on several occasions.

No 8: A camera and/or video.  A camera is great if you want to memorialize some occasion or a meeting with someone important to you.  A video is important for anyone that blogs.  It gives you a chance to interview someone during your travels.  I do this almost every time I travel.

No. 9: Tools for your business.  For me, that includes many copies of my bio for introductions whenever I speak.  Despite the fact that my team sends the bio in advance, there are many times when I arrive and they don’t have the bio handy.

Another tool for me is a PowerPoint remote clicker.  This is really important for me because I don’t want to rely on someone else to move the slides forward as a I present.  Also, you know that memory stick I mentioned earlier? I have copies of my talk(s) on there just in case the group I’m speaking to has misplaced my presentation material.

Extra Odds and Ends

When I asked some colleagues and other business travelers what they would add to the list, they added some that I hadn’t thought of! Here are some of their suggestions:

No. 1: A phone charger. I agree heartily, especially seeing how much these items cost in an airport, or in another country. And you certainly won’t want to forget your laptop power cord – besides being expensive it’s often impossible to be able to get the right one easily, if at all. Also, you should write a “note to self” to fully charge all of your electronic devices the night before you leave!

No. 2: Power adapter/converter. Though it’s usually easy to pick up a “universal” adapter at airports or stores in heavily populated areas, in this electronic age you would hate to need one and not be able to find one, so it’s best to have one (or two) packed and ready when you need it!

No. 3: The right clothes. Most of you have experienced differences in temperature and/or weather from one town to another, so you can imagine how different the conditions could be across the country or around the world! It’s never been easier to plan what clothes to bring, thanks to online weather forecasts for every region of the earth. (Of course, there are no guarantees where weather is concerned!)

No 4: A good book. Oh yes – a most important item to include! Those airport layovers, delays, and long flights can seem even longer without something interesting to read. Here’s something to consider, if you are an avid reader who uses an e-reader or other mobile device to read books: You might want to also include a “paper” book and/or magazine for those take-offs and landings where all electronic devices must be turned off, and in case you actually do run out of battery power on a long trip!

Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author.  He is the Founder and Chairman of BNI (www.BNI.com ), the world’s largest business networking organization.  His book, Networking Like a Pro, can be viewed at www.IvanMisner.com .  Dr. Misner is also the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute (www.ReferralInstitue.com ), an international referral training company.

Peace & Shout out to Dr. Misner who told me personally when I met him at a BNI Convention in St. Louis last year that he uses SendOutCards.com as a tool to keep in touch with his network.  He loves the fact that everyone can read his handwriting when he uses SendOutCards.com.  SOC’s spell checker is an added bonus.  Go to www.sendoutcards.com/128092 and try sending your own free card.

Read more: http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/entrepreneurs/2013/03/05/13-things-to-pack-for-every-business-trip/#ixzz2TwYD6kLD

Ways to Show Your Grateful by Lory Fabian

 “Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.”  Henry David Thoreau

I am continually amazed how many people neglect, forget or never even think to say one of the first manners most of us were taught before kindergarten. Using those two simple words, ‘Thank You!’

I’ve experienced over and over again, the more you thank someone, the more that person feels appreciated. Coincidence or not, a smile and a thank you builds momentum because of the Law of Reciprocity.  How do you show your friends, family and customers how grateful you are for them?  Just as small steps can lead to big accomplishments, a simple thank you can have a huge impact on your life, and the life of that person.

If you find little ways and big ways to weave gratitude in your life, you life will be forever changed.  I wonder why so many people resist trying such a simple task. Most of us are in search of finding ways to be happier … and never realize or believe that Happiness is a Choice.

Need proof? Take the SendOutCards.com/loryfabian 30 Day Gratitude Challenge. SendOutCards.com is changing millions of lives. It is truly a phenomenon!  2 million cards of gratitude were sent in 90 days last summer.  Over and over again, we hear most about bad news.  Why does the main stream media neglect sharing the breaking news of people spreading love, hope and gratitude at a faster speed than ever before in history?

People around the world are becoming happier & making the people around them much happier as well. Sending and sharing appreciation and gratitude has a ripple effect that will make the world a better place. (Remember the story about the Boss who rips his Manager who then yells and shouts at his employee?  (Where the term, Stuff Rolls Down Hill comes from.)

When the employee gets home, he kicks his dog and does who knows what to his wife?  If the Boss would thank his hard-working & dedicated Manager, the Manager would then take his employee to lunch and praise him.  When the employee feels recognized and appreciated, he or she gives 110% more to the company, production goes up. The employee takes his wife home flowers and gives his dog a bone. The wife is happy, the children are happy and even the dog is happy!

Sound silly??  Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen if you try showing gratitude to your family and employees? Get rid of your old-school thinking that just because you pay your employees, you don’t have to thank them.  News Flash! Employees & Customers are people too!

Saying thank you isn’t really that hard!! Do you agree that it is so much easier than having to say “I’m Sorry?” Cardinal Rule: It is important that your sentiments are genuine and sincere or they may cause more harm than good.

John Lennon was on the right track when he wrote the song, Imagine, over 20 years ago. Spreading love and peace through cards and words is a great place to start. Agree?

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man (and women)

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one

For those who need help coming up with a few ideas on how to show their gratitude, listed below are a few ideas that work for me:

1. Create a Gratitude Journal. John Tesh reported last week that people who keep a Food Journal lost over 50% more weight than those who didn’t.  Oprah keeps a gratitude journal. I believe many of her blessings came from her gratitude and acts of giving.

2. Send a thank-you note. Go to www.sendoutcards.com/loryfabian and sign up for the 30 day Gratitude Challenge. Guaranteed to be a life changer!

3. Give a free hug. Donna Naumann, Nurse Practitioner, at Cave Springs Toastmasters recommends giving 9 hugs a day to see and feel immediate results.

4. Give thanks for today! – Thank God that you woke up this morning. Be thankful you are alive.  Today is a gift, be sure to live in the present. Be purposeful on your gratitude…and you will begin to recognize more and more blessings that you have.

5. Random Act of Kindness – A simple gesture of opening a door, paying for the meal or coffee of the person behind you in a drive-through, allow someone in front of you in line at the bank or grocery store in front of you.  Stop, smile & take a few minutes to visit with a senior citizen or veteran.  Most of us will be a senior citizen some day.  Some of us, sooner than later. Be sure to treat them how you wanted to be treated when you reach those golden years. What a great opportunity to show your children how they should treat you! LOL

6. Give a little gift. – Gifts are my love language.  The gift doesn’t have to be expensive. If you know someone whose love language is a Gift, write a surprise love note, deliver a single fresh flower, or share a box of chocolates or wine. Trader Joe has an awesome Hungarian Merlot Wine under $10. Most people’s favorite gift is the gift of Your Time.

7. Send a SOC Card that lists all of the wonderful and favorite things you like about that person. – I promise this card will be a forever card.  (Kids need to hear the good things they do and what you love about them, especially teenagers who tend to be criticized more frequently for what they are doing wrong and not being recognized for what they are doing right.) With SendOutCards.com/loryfabian you can personalize each card for each loved one and include a quote or Bible verse.

8. Acknowledge publicly. – Social Media is a free and powerful tool to give praise and gratitude.  It can be amplified by other friends and make a person glow inside all day or all month.

9. Surprise them with kindness. – Do you really need help with this one?  Probably not.

Ponder this!  We judge ourselves by our intentions, and we judge others by our actions. Why not surprise yourself & take action some today?

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.’ William Ward

 

 

How to Grow a Smart SMB Team by Lisa Barone

Small business owners have a lot on their plates – it’s become cliché because it’s true! Between marketing, running, and growing their business, there are always more tasks than hours in the day. However, among the most important and difficult of tasks is trying to build your team. It can be hard to find people who you can trust to come in and help you get the job done. It’s even harder to find people who share your values and your commitment to your customers. But it’s doable. More than that, if you want to grow a successful business, it’s a must. You can’t work in and on your business at the same time.

Whether you’re in the process right now of trying to build your team or you simply aspire to one day being bigger than yourself, below are some tips to help you grow a smarter SMB team.

1. Assess Your Skills

Knowing the skills you’ll need to hire for means first understanding the skills that you (and possibly your existing team) already bring to the table. For example, maybe you’re great at customer service but you’re terrible at marketing. Or maybe you’re awesome at using social media tools to connect with people, but you can’t keep your books straight for the life of your business. Start creating lists of skills – skills you have, skills you can acquire, and skills you’d need to hire for. Once you know what skill sets you’re looking for, prioritize them to help you identify what is most important to your business.

2. Seek Out Referrals

Once you know what roles you’re looking to hire for, put it out to the universe. Talk to the people in your community and your local network about the types of people you’re looking for. Post the required skills on LinkedIn or Twitter and see if anyone in your network can help. Talk about in the online groups that you’re part of. I’m always surprised by how easy it is to find the perfect person as soon as you let people know you’re looking for them. The world is smaller than you think.

3. Go Online Talent Shopping

If your local referrer network wasn’t able to come up with a match, it’s time to go online talent shopping yourself. One of my favorite tools for this is LinkedIn’s Advanced Search.

With LinkedIn’s Advanced Search you can hunt for potential employees by experience, industry, salary, job title, current company, previous company, etc. Better yet, you can then narrow it down to employees living within 50 miles of your storefront, helping you focus on the people who could actually come and work for you. Once you have a list of people you’d like to get an introduction to, see who in your network is already connected to these people or what groups/ associations they’re a part of. This is a really great way to get your foot in the door with an applicant who could bring a lot of value to your business.

4. Find Shared Values

But finding a great new team member for your SMB isn’t just about the skills they may have on paper. It’s about finding someone who thinks like you do and who values the same things that you’re trying to instill in your business. Getting that “culture fit” right is invaluable in helping to avoid potential pitfalls later on. If a person doesn’t match what the rest of the company believes, then they’re not a good fit for your business. No matter how impressive their resume may be. Use your gut and look for people who show a history of action, being a team player, and who appears receptive to challenges.

5. Trust them

Once you find that person who compliments your team’s skill set, get out of their way and trust them. Sure, put procedures and policies in place to help make them accountable, but avoid your instinct to hover over them to make sure they’re doing things “your way”. Delegating does not mean hiring Mini-Yous. It means creating a more diverse team. Get comfortable with that.

Even the most-skilled CEOs will eventually need to invest in growing his or her team. You can’t do everything. By carefully and deliberately putting together a team of complimentary skill sets, you help set yourself (and your business) up for success.

Hugs and Peace to Lisa Barone @ Smallbiztrends.com

Learning to (almost) Like Criticism by Fellow Toastmaster, Brian Toma

Practically everybody will admit to being interested in improving themselves or their business or personal relationships. There are even some, like Toastmasters members, who have actually taken steps to do so. But unfortunately, many people miss out on valuable opportunities for improvement and growth because of their inability to take advice and criticism from others. Do you make use of suggestions offered by your peers? Do you seek out the advice and feedback of others to your advantage? It makes sense, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

I am the owner of a small business. Several years ago the managers of my company met to formally establish non-financial, people-oriented goals. Examples of those goals included providing a safe work environment, offering adequate training and improving teamwork between departments. We then sent a description of the goals and a survey to all employees so they could rate our level of achievement of those goals. Employees could respond anonymously. This was to be done annually.

I almost didn’t make it past the first survey. Most employees responded, but not in that supportive, kind Toastmasters way. They just told me exactly how they felt by using the survey rating system and adding their own comments. Although I got what I asked for, I must admit I was very upset because the ratings were, in some cases, insultingly low and several comments were nasty, blaming me directly for certain problems.

It didn’t seem like the employees were trying to help me. Indeed it seemed they were trying to hurt me, because that’s how I felt. I experienced the defensive, prideful reaction many people feel when being criticized. Criticism is universally disliked. Franklin P. Jones, an author most known for humorous quotations, wrote “Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger.” It is just plain hard to take advice or criticism. Even positive, well-worded evaluations give at least a hint that we are inadequate in some way. Most of us know that we have faults or could improve, but we just don’t want to hear about it.

My immediate reaction to the survey results was defensive, but after time and thoughtful consideration I realized that there was a consensus in the results. That is, many employees expressed similar comments and ratings. I began to recognize the value of their perspectives. So, with pain and difficulty, I decided to “own” the problems and the criticisms. I sent a memo to all employees thanking them for their participation, summarizing the survey results and comments (without displaying any of the nasty ones) and showing my recognition that I, as president of the company, was a major part of the problem. Then we took action in response to the feedback and, over time, changes and improvements came about. The surveys continue today after five years and the company has greatly benefited.

“Sometimes there are difficulties in getting valuable comments from others.
But the biggest challenge is in making use of the feedback.”

I put in place a method for the company by which I could measure certain non-financial goals, identify problems and then make improvements accordingly. I also began to rely on a process for using advice and criticism to my advantage:
“Sometimes there are difficulties in getting valuable comments from others.
But the biggest challenge is in making use of the feedback.”

Recognize that you can get unique and valuable perspectives from others. Be aware of opportunities to get feedback.

Find people who are capable of providing you with perspectives of interest and value to you.

Request feedback in a way that will increase the chances that your evaluators will be open and honest. This can be a challenge. Most people understand human pride and many will simply be polite without offering any critical feedback. Sometimes anonymity is required. With anonymity, however, some insensitive people may criticize with absolutely no regard for your feelings: Be prepared for that, keeping in mind that some people are not well-trained in the manner of offering advice, but still may have some valuable ideas.

Read or listen to the feedback that is offered.

Experience your feelings. Expect the possibility of defensive reaction. You will know that you are having a prideful reaction if you find yourself judging your critics. It’s human nature. Go with it. But try to maintain control of your outward expressions for the sake of others.

Be gracious, regardless of your feelings. Thank the evaluators for their comments so that they feel welcome to offer you more open and honest feedback in the future.

Let time go by, allowing your negative feelings to diminish.

Honestly evaluate the feedback. This is the most difficult step. Your pride may block your ability to do this effectively, but try hard to find the value in the comments you received. If you just can’t find any value in the comments, then try to evaluate your feelings. If you feel at least a little bothered by the comment, then there is a good chance that your pride is obstructing your ability to make use of some valuable feedback. If you can follow this process by going to the next step instead of reacting with your feelings, then you may be able to benefit from the advice.

Seek consensus. If you identify similar comments from multiple critics then the signal is getting louder and the value of the feedback is increasing. But avoid the mistake of seeking consensus about your feelings, that is, seeking sympathy. You can make yourself feel better by doing that, but you will miss a growth opportunity.

Own it. Acknowledge it. Take responsibility. Take control. If you acknowledge the criticism as useful and valid, but then follow up with excuses and blaming, then you have not taken ownership, responsibility or control. Without ownership you won’t be ready for the next step.

Take action. Make directed improvements in accordance with the feedback that you have received. You may be forced to take small steps at first, but continue with them until they add up to greater advances.

Repeat the process.

I have used this process in an informal way in business . It can be used for continual evaluation, growth and improvement.

Much of a person’s life involves interactions and relationships with other people. Public speaking, for example, involves a relationship between a speaker and an audience.

To evaluate your own performance as part of a relationship, it makes sense to seek out the perspectives of others who are involved in or knowledgeable about the relationship. Sometimes there are difficulties in getting valuable comments from others, but the biggest challenge is in making use of the feedback.

To take advantage of critical feedback you must work past your discomfort and defensive feelings. Apply the “no pain, no gain” principle, and you’ll soon enjoy all the benefits of an improved life.

Love & Peace to Brian Thoma. Brian is CTM, CL, is president of His Toastmaster’s Voice 6280-38 in Moorestown, New
Jersey, and owner of Thoma, Inc., a company representing manufacturers of laboratory furniture and school casework.

Do you agree that business is still driven by people and relationships? by Lory Fabian

Little things make big things happen. ~John Wooden

Ed Wallace, author of Business Relationships That Last, shares ny passionate belief that creating business relationships that last is the secret to success.  Ed Wallace explains that even in the midst of technological advances, the one remarkable simple constant: business is still driven by people and relationships.

One story in Ed’s book, he writes about how the little extras can turn customers into friends.  He talks about mastering the art of taking so-called simple business from a merely transactional level to the level of high-value personal relationships, to creating a memorable experience between human beings.

Ed writes that too many of us lose sight of the fact that we are dealing and selling to real people.  A real person is on the other end of a call or an email.  We may miss an opportunity to enrich business endeavors and life with the growth and learning that comes from true interaction with others. I totally agree, do you?

Ed Wallace’s The Principle of Worthy Intent is the inherent promise you make to keep the other person’s best interests at the core of your business relationship.  At BNI, we call Ed’s principle, a Giver’s Gain philosophy.

Ed Wallace’s Relational Capital which he defines as “the distinctive value created by people in a business relationship” or simply put “the little extras.”  Keeping the client’s best interest as your focus is the gold rule for client-facing professionals. This realization stood the test of time as Ed advanced through his career from inside sales rep to an executive and now a business owner.  The little extras transform transactional activities into the relational attributes. 

I highly recommend reading Ed Wallace’s book, Business Relationships That Last to help understand  the most undervalued, least understood, most ignored, yet most important asset in your company.

If you do, however, recognize the value of Relational Capital, think about signing up for a proven low cost system that will help you start building personal relationships immediately with your customers. SendOutCards.com is an online marketing tool that will give you an added edge above your competition.

SendOutCards.com/loryfabian has both IPHONE and ANDOID apps available  that allow you to send a note of thanks before you leave the parking lot of one appointment to head out to your next meeting.

Imagine sending out a “Nice to Meet You” card before leaving a trade show and include a photo of yourself?  Do you think the person you send a personalized note to will take your call?  I do.

Check out my website at www.SendOutCards.com/biz/128092 and start building your own Relational Capitol today.

Peace and Hugs to Ed Wallace